Update: ‘Specifications’ and ‘Production & Release Date‘ sections updated.
The MINI Paceman unveiled in 2012 found the going tough due to the decline of two-door models in the global market. Sales of the Paceman never really picked up, so it was discontinued in 2017.
Fans of the MINI Sports Activity Coupe would be thrilled to hear that the nameplate is coming back to the market, this time with proper doors, a pure-electric powertrain, and without a ‘P’! Here’s everything we know about the MINI Aceman (codename: MINI J05).
There’s a lot that we know about the Aceman’s design already. MINI revealed a concept version of the future model in July 2022, and later, spy pictures and videos of test prototypes offered a fair understanding of the changes in the production version. Our rendering (below) provides a good look at what you can expect in the model heading to your local MINI dealer.
The MINI Aceman will embody the brand’s new design language – “Charismatic Simplicity.” It will look unmistakably MINI, but much sharper, bolder, and more assertive than the Paceman. Some reports say the Aceman would also fill the void of a 4-door Hatch EV in the MINI line-up.
Although the Aceman will have regular doors instead of the old double doors, it should look just as sporty as the Paceman. Expect a similar coupe-style profile with a greenhouse tapered towards the rear and a steeply raked back glass. The Aceman would avoid using MINI’s hallmark circular headlamps and feature more aggressively designed, edgy headlamps. Spy images have shown the production version’s headlamps including angular DRLs similar to those of the concept.
The tail lamps, too, would be completely new, stacked vertically to be more in line with the crossover body style and provide a striking contrast to clear, horizontal surfaces at the rear. Both may feature matrix LED lighting technology, allowing for varied lighting scenarios as required in the situation.
A large hexagonal grille would dominate most of the front-end, and it would be completely closed. A compact grille in the lower section would suffice the cooling needs. Flush door handles and clean surfaces would give the crossover minimalist styling on the sides. On the other hand, strongly contoured and generously proportioned wheel arches featuring flat and geometrically modeled surfaces, 20-inch alloy wheels in a chunky (and aerodynamic) design, and a roof rack would create a contrasting look, clearly communicating the model’s overall adventurous character.
The interior of the MINI Aceman would carry a low-profile design with a sleek dashboard, compact center console, and a large circular OLED touchscreen for the infotainment system. An oblong climate control panel will offer physical controls with retro toggle switches. The steering wheel should feature touch-control buttons.
MINI will offer leather-free and fully vegan interior surface materials in the Aceman. Future MINI models will see the usage of sustainable alternatives to leather. Parent company BMW Group says leather-free surfaces reduce CO2 emissions by 85%. It is considering switching to Mirum (100% bio-based and petroleum-free), Deserttex (made from pulverized cactus fibers with a bio-based polyurethane matrix), and other innovative alternative materials that are completely vegan for both BMW and MINI models.
A report from Autocar in February 2021 cited MINI Head of Design Oliver Heilmer saying the company doesn’t need leather anymore because it’s unsustainable, in its opinion. “We’re totally convinced that we will have modern and high-value products without leather,” Heilmer said. The new materials would be recycled yet luxurious and “inventive in terms of function.”
Sustainability measures might not be limited just to the interior. For example, MINI could also use alloy wheels made from 100% recycled aluminum. The company introduced such wheels as proof of feasibility in the limited-production Cooper SE Convertible in February 2023 and said the aim of this pilot project is to gradually reduce dependence on primary raw materials, indicating other MINI models may also inherit 100% recycled aluminum wheels.
The MINI Aceman will be based on the next-gen MINI Electric’s dedicated EV platform, which means it will reap all the benefits the electric powertrain technology provides. It won’t have a transmission tunnel, which should allow a flat floor.
According to a report Auto Express released on March 8, 2023, the Aceman’s dimensions will be similar to the original Countryman. The latter, when introduced in 2010, was 161.7 in. long, 70.4 in. wide, and 61.5 in. tall. Thanks to its dedicated EV platform, its wheelbase will likely be much longer than the original Countryman’s 102.2 in.
MINI head Stefanie Wurst has told Auto Express that the Aceman will be a “gamified concept” and that the brand signature “go-kart feeling” will continue being the no.1 priority for the company’s vehicles. So, the Aceman and other future MINI EVs should be fun to drive. The British publication states three variants will be available: E, SE, and JCW.
MINI Aceman E
The Aceman E will have a 40 kWh battery pack, while the Aceman SE and Aceman JCW will share a 54 kWh battery pack. Both battery packs could consist of long-lasting cobalt-free iron-phosphate batteries.
MINI Aceman SE
The range-focused SE variant will likely end up being the most popular choice among customers, especially in the U.S. The maximum (WLTP) range of the Aceman will range between around 200 miles and 250 miles, as per Auto Express. EPA-est. range figures tend to be usually much lower than the WLTP ratings.
According to a report Auto Express published on November 11, 2022, the Aceman E would have a motor that produces around 180 horsepower and the Aceman SE would use a more powerful motor that generates around 215 horsepower.
MINI Aceman John Cooper Works & GT
According to a report CAR published on July 26, 2022, the Aceman JCW may have two motors, one at the front and one at the back, producing 282 horsepower. This report mentioned a fourth ‘GT’ variant as well, packing a 300+ hp dual-motor powertrain. It said that both these AWD variants won’t be available at launch. It’s safe to assume the JCW and GT variants would also have the 54 kWh battery pack.
|Aspect||2024 MINI Aceman Specification (Expected)|
|Power (E/SE/JCW/GT)||~180 hp/~215 hp/282 hp/300+ hp|
|Battery Pack Capacity||40 kWh/54 kWh|
|WLTP Range||Up to 250 miles|
Production & Release Date
Manufacturing of the MINI Aceman will take place at a new joint BMW Group-GWM venture plant located in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province in China. This factory will have an annual production capacity of 160,000 units. The company will unveil the Aceman sometime in 2024 and, according to a report Autocar published on March 7, 2023, launch it in January 2025.
Video Source: YouTube/CarSpyMedia
Competitors & Price
As the next-gen 2023 MINI Countryman is climbing up a segment, it leaves enough space for MINI to launch a small crossover without the fear of cannibalization. The new electric crossover could be the perfect car for customers of the Cooper SE who want a raised seating position and added ground clearance. The 2024 MINI Aceman would challenge premium entry-level electric crossovers like the Mercedes EQA and the Smart #1. Positioned between the Cooper SE and the Countryman EV, the Aceman could be priced at around USD 40,000.
MINI announces all-electric future
In 2021, MINI said that it will become an all-electric brand as early as the early 2030s. In October 2020, the brand had announced that its future core portfolio of all-electric vehicles will include the two-door Hatch, a new crossover model in the small car segment (now known to be the production version of the Aceman concept), and a MINI Countryman electric variant. MINI said the hatch and the two compact crossover models will have combustion engine options.
The BMW Group company has hinted that its future electric crossovers, unmistakably MINI, would each address a different segment with varying space and versatility. All products in its future lineup would, however, “continue to be a typical MINI” with the highest interior space, exciting drive, and individuality within the smallest footprint among competitors.
The MINI Aceman will woo customers with a more practical body style and dimensions, addressing the two main shortcomings of the original sub-compact crossover. Plus, being an EV, it will be cheaper to run. With a leather-free and vegan interior, zero-emission powertrain, and sustainable production, this will be a perfect little urban runabout for the environment-conscious. For the small segment of diehard Paceman fans, MINI’s two-door crossover isn’t coming back, and this is as close as it’ll ever get!
Featured Image: TopElectricSUV’s rendition of the MINI Aceman Electric.